Football’s downfall has been continuous

first_imgThe saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is not always the case. The USC football program has shown that. They’ve battled innumerable problems and distractions and have come out much weaker for it.The football program hasn’t been the same since the departure of Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush, and let’s face it, chances are it never will be again. Certainly it could be, but everything since then until today proves otherwise.With each dramatic off- or on-the-field incident or firing that occurs, USC continues to distance itself from the glorified dynasty that once ruled Troy.This year — the year things were supposed to quiet down with a new athletic director and a new head coach — has been just as dramatic, if not more so, than other years in recent memory. Keep in mind we are only four weeks into the regular season, and already there has been a player charged with rape and another player associated with the crime, not to mention the more “practical” drama that includes a quarterback change, a losing record and only scoring one touchdown against two ranked opponents this year — am I forgetting anything here?USC is just a soap opera and it saddens me, not because of the unrealistic expectation that we would come back from sanctions unscathed, but because of the lack of progress and leadership that anyone in a position of power chooses to display.Impatient fans and greedy donors’ insatiable appetite to win has worked against the Trojans and soon the team will be in a place it cannot recover from.In the three years that I have been here, the situation has gotten increasingly and noticeably worse. Two years ago, cornerback Josh Shaw suffered an injury after jumping off a balcony for what he said was an effort to save a drowning child. Shaw actually jumped off the balcony to evade police following an argument he had with his girlfriend. Being the naïve freshman that I was, I assumed that would be the worst thing that happened to the team during my time as a Trojan.Then, when I was a sophomore, then-head coach (and current Alabama assistant) Steve Sarkisian had his run-in with alcohol embarrassing former athletic director Pat Haden to the point that he was fired midway through the season.Helton was supposed to be the coach that calmed everything down and gave the team the blue-collar attitude it needed to stop the uncontrollable fall from grace. The cycle is nowhere close to ending either. Coming out of the sanction years, the expectation that USC would bounce right back was ridiculous and now there hasn’t been enough stability to convince a JV football player that playing at USC would be the right choice. The thing that Lane Kiffin, Sarkisian and now Helton must realize is that nothing short of perfection will ever be satisfactory to USC. Coaches — though I won’t argue that Kiffin and Sarkisian were never the right coach — haven’t been given the chance to stay here long enough to cement themselves as the consistent leaders that this program needs.Helton’s first season is off to a rocky start, but so was Pete Caroll’s. Does that mean that Helton is the coach who is going to turn the program around? I don’t know. No one does. But with a new athletic director behind him, he certainly has the opportunity. Helton needs to resell USC, something no fan ever thought would happen, but instead of consistently having one of the top recruiting classes in the country, now the team struggles to fill a class with 5-star recruits.If I were a top high school prospect, I don’t think I would want to come to USC. There has been too much drama in the past three years alone whereas if you are talented enough to play at a powerhouse school, the amount of drama that USC has in one year would amount to be more than most of those schools see over a player’s four-year career.There is no easy solution for this disenfranchisement, but certainly strong leadership and patience helps, something that has been lacking in the football program for many years.I hate to see the talent and collegiate career of the stars USC has on its team go to waste, but junior cornerback Adoree’ Jackson said it best after the deflating loss to Stanford on Saturday.“At the end of the day, it’s unacceptable,” he said. “I didn’t come from a losing program. I’m not used to losing.”No one at USC is used to losing.The Trojans are still the most recent Pac-12 team to capture a national title, but they haven’t won it in 12 years. As the program and the school are still trying to emulate that success, eyebrows need to be raised. Why is it taking this long and more importantly, why is the team regressing?USC needs to turn its football team around before it is too late.Hailey Tucker is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs Thursdays.last_img

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